Boom for Real: The Late Teenage Years of Jean-Michel Basquiat


Thursday, Nov. 8 at 7:00pm
Contemporary Art Museum

“Boom for Real” tells the story of how New York City in the late 1970s formed the artist that the teenage Jean-Michel Basquiat eventually became. Using never-before-seen works, writings, and photographs, director Sara Driver, who was herself part of the same New York arts scene, works closely and collaboratively with friends and other artists who emerged from that period, including Jim Jarmusch, James Nares, Fab Five Freddy, Glenn O’Brien, Kenny Scharf, Lee Quinones, Patricia Field, and Luc Sante. Along with their memories and anecdotes, the film uses period film footage, music, and images to visually re-create the era, drawing a portrait of Jean-Michel and downtown New York City before AIDS, President Reagan, and the real estate and art booms — that is, before anyone was motivated by money and ambition. The New York Times writes: “While, in many respects, it is conventional in form, alternating archival footage with newly shot interviews, the movie has a momentum (aided by an exemplary soundtrack of songs from the era) and a rare interrogatory spirit…. Near the end of the movie, one of Basquiat’s friends refers to him as ‘a true investigator.’ In Ms. Driver, the artist finds a kindred spirit, a fellow investigator who pays him proper and enthralling tribute.”

78 min.

Directed by

Sara Driver



Film Category

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With CAM executive director Lisa Melandri.

Co-presented by Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis as part of the exhibit "Basquiat Before Basquiat"

Film Website

Official Website